Building National Identity? The Causal Effect of Homogenization Policies in Alsace-Lorraine

Center for Comperative and International Studies (CIS), Working paper No. 89

47 Pages Posted: 5 Aug 2016 Last revised: 10 Nov 2016

Sirus Dehdari

Stockholm University - Institute for International Economic Studies (IIES)

Kai Gehring

University of Zurich - Chair of Political Economy; University of Heidelberg

Date Written: November 5, 2016

Abstract

We use a spatial regression discontinuity design to derive the causal effect of intrusive homogenization policies, first by the German and then by the French government, on national identity in Eastern France. Our identification strategy uses the historical division of Alsace and Lorraine by the Germans in 1870/71 as a natural experiment, which was quasi-exogenous due to disagreements in the German leadership on how far the new border should reach into France. Our results document persistently higher support in two crucial referenda on the European Union in the region that experienced more intrusive policies, which as we explain reveals a lower common national identity. The results remain stable and unaffected when focusing on a subsample, controlling for distance to major cities and neighbor countries, excluding historically German speaking municipalities and potential outliers, and choosing different bandwidths. This is the first causal evidence that a government's policy choices influence the development of a common national identity.

Keywords: National identity, Homogenization policies, Alsace-Lorraine

JEL Classification: H77, F50, Z10

Suggested Citation

Dehdari, Sirus and Gehring, Kai, Building National Identity? The Causal Effect of Homogenization Policies in Alsace-Lorraine (November 5, 2016). Center for Comperative and International Studies (CIS), Working paper No. 89. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2818919

Sirus Dehdari (Contact Author)

Stockholm University - Institute for International Economic Studies (IIES) ( email )

Stockholm, SE-10691
Sweden

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/sirusddari/research

Kai Gehring

University of Zurich - Chair of Political Economy ( email )

Rämistrasse 71
Zürich, CH-8006
Switzerland
+4917620916056 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.kai-gehring.net

University of Heidelberg ( email )

Grabengasse 1
Heidelberg, 69117
Germany

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